Welcoming a new life into the world is a momentous occasion filled with joy and anticipation for the new parents. As friends, family, and well-wishers, our words hold great power during this time. While our intentions may be pure, it's important to be mindful of what we say to a new Mum. Certain phrases, even if unintentionally, can be overwhelming or insensitive. Here are a few questions, statements and pieces of advice that while said with loving intention, may not be right to say to a brand new Mum.
"Sleep When the Baby Sleeps"
While the advice to rest is well-meaning, suggesting that a new mum should nap whenever the baby does oversimplifies the reality of life with a newborn. Whilst it may be lovely to always sleep when the baby does, there are other things that the mum may need to do in those few precious minutes and hours. Mums often find themselves using that time to catch up on household chores, personal care, or to have a moment untouched. Instead, offer to help with tasks or watch the baby for a while, so the new mum can truly rest when needed.
"You Look Tired"
Unsurprisingly it is not uncommon for a new mum to look tired. An unpredictable sleep schedule can do that to you. Commenting on a new mum's appearance by pointing out her tiredness is not supportive or positive and is going to leave the mum feeling low. A kinder approach might be to ask how she's feeling or offer assistance, allowing her to share her experiences without feeling judged.
"Is the Baby Sleeping Through the Night Yet?"
Every baby's sleep pattern is unique, and most newborns wake up multiple times during the night for feeding and comfort. This is so normal. Asking about the baby's sleep habits can make a new mum feel pressured or anxious if her baby isn't following a conventional sleep schedule. Instead, express interest in how she's managing and if there's any way you can support her during those wakeful nights.
""Breastfeeding is Easy, Right?"
Breastfeeding can be both physically and emotionally challenging for many new mums. Assuming that it's easy can dismiss the potential struggles they may be facing. Rather than making assumptions, offer support and encourage open conversations about their breastfeeding journey, showing that you're there to listen and help without judgment.
"That's not how I did it"
Unsolicited advice about a new mom's diet, activities, or parenting choices can be
overwhelming. Remember that every parent knows what's best for their child, every child is different. and respecting their decisions is important. If they seek advice, offer it in a nonjudgmental and supportive manner, but avoid imposing your opinions. The easiest rule is only offer your opinion if asked.
""Enjoy Every Moment; They Grow Up So Fast!"
While this sentiment is true, it can unintentionally add pressure to an already overwhelming time. New mums often deal with sleep deprivation, healing from childbirth, and adjusting to a new routine. Instead of urging them to cherish every second, reassure them that it's sometimes okay to feel tired and overwhelmed.
Supporting a new mum requires sensitivity and understanding. Offering a listening ear, providing support and help, and refraining from making assumptions can go a long way in ensuring that the new mum feels loved, respected, and supported during this significant phase of her life.